All fungi are heterotrophs, which means that they are “other feeding”.  In other words they obtain energy and organic molecules by ingesting other organisms and can not produce these themselves.  Aspergillus flavus is both a saprophyte and a parasite.  As a saprophyte it obtains non-living organic material but as a parasite it uses organic material from living organisms, harming them in some way.  If you're interested in learning about more parasites check out some of these organisms: human lice, Taenia solium, deer ticks, and mosquitoes.

Being heterotrophic is one characteristic that fungi share with humans. When it gets down to the nitty gritty however, there is a big difference between the way that they accomplish this and the way that we do.  As humans, we ingest our food prior to digestion.  Fungi though, do not play by these rules.  First they secrete exoenzymes to digest their meal and then absorb material using structures called hyphae.  The densely branched network of hyphae is called mycelium.  Mycelium grows rapidly as proteins and other materials synthesized by the fungus are channeled through cytoplasmic streaming to the tips of the extended hyphae.  Fungi concentrate energy and resources on adding hyphal length to increase surface area making feeding more efficient.  Fungi are non-vascular so they do not have transport tissues for obtained nutrients.  Another characteristic that all fungi share with humans is that they store their food in the form of glycogen.  Most people don't realize how much in common we have with the fungi.

Continue on to the next page if you're interested in this organism's reproduction!